Panagia Keras-Tapes-Tsivi | Locations

Panagia Keras-Tapes-Tsivi

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Departing from Aghios Nikolaos, your destination is the Byzantine church of The Virgin Mary of Kera (7km southwest of Aghios Nikolaos, a short distance outside of the village of Kritsa).

This church is one of the most important examples of Byzantine structures in Crete (13th -14th century). Continue on as far as the largest village of the island –the village of Kritsa. Follow along the asphalt road in the direction of Katharo and after driving for about ten minutes, leave your car at the junction to Tapes. Carrying your rucksack, continue along the dirt road westwards towards the cypress forest on the southern slopes of the mountain of Tsivis. This forest spreads out to the right and left from the bed of the upper side of the Gorge of Kritsa up to a certain height. Around a core of cypress trees, the forest is thickened by a mixture of cypress, holly, holm-oak, and azilakis. Within the forest there are quite a few trails, many of which are from ancient times, which connect the lower cultivated plain with the Plateaus of Katharo and Lassithi.

When you arrive at the panoramic cypress-covered eastern slope (next to Sikias), turn left and south to join up with the flagstone path. This path if followed eastward, runs parallel at varying distances to the asphalt road that will take you back to your car and the beginning of your walk. On this trail the visitor can experience first hand the two sides of an environmental dilemma: the natural environment, the wooded hills, and sustainable use by humans, but on the other hand the reduction of the natural habitat by overgrazing. This forest is the last remaining cypress forest from ancient times in Eastern Crete.

  • Route Difficulty: Very Easy